Sunday, August 2, 2015

Honey Bees Build Honeycomb in Lowcountry

Five sections were under construction
View from underneath, looking up
Imagine my surprise as a Charleston native to find a honeycomb under construction on the peninsula for the first time ever. It is located in a live oak tree that I would conservatively age at 100 years old, but aging a live oak via dendochronology is not advisable. What is more important is that the live oak is surrounded by other mature live oaks and they have formed a marvelous canopy that is home to all sorts of Lowcountry wildlife. However, when I saw wild honeybees identify this site as acceptable to them, it reminded me of the only other honeycomb I've ever seen in the Lowcountry that was attached to a live oak tree. That much more massive honeycomb was attached to even older set of live oaks at the Grove Plantation, also known as the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge.
Bugs and beetles moved in on the honeycomb

An extensive live oak canopy and honeycomb
The honeycomb I discovered in July of 2015 is located South of Calhoun Street, making it truly on the peninsula of Charleston. At first I said nothing about the endeavors of the honey bees their construction project is located high enough that most members of the public would never have noticed it. However, I am a lifelong naturalist with a trained eye for signs of the natural world. Almost daily observations allowed me to watch their progress, and with hot and humid weather they seemed to be faring well. That is until large numbers of bugs and beetles became interested in their honeycomb, and that led to birds checking around in the area with increased frequency, particularly on the ground under the honeycomb. All that attention caused the bees to abandon their project and move on. As of the first of August the honeycomb is degrading, and I wanted to share this unusual tale from where the natural world and the city intersect.

To view past blog entries about encounters with the natural world click on Bats - Snakes - American Oystercatcher

To view past Field Notes click on July 2015June 2015 - February 2105 - October 2014  September 2014 - August 2014 - June 2014 - March 2012 - February 2012 - October 2011 - September 2011  

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